Over the next month or so I will be covering (or attempting) to cover every NHL team and their off-season plan. Day by day as the season continues on there will be a new team out of playoffs.
The Ottawa Senators are officially out of the place, we all knew they were toast about 3 months ago but they are now officially declared out. Therefore it is back to the drawing board once again for the Senators.
Before we get into the mess in Ottawa, we have to look at the positives and negatives they do have though.
Negatives: A LOT
The Ottawa Senators currently have an interim head coach. With the firing of Guy Boucher, they are the 7th club to fire a head coach this season. Therefore the Senators laundry list of issues carry on. Who do they go after, or better yet who would want to come to Ottawa? The NHL is infamous for recycling coaches so we can expect to see a familiar name in the position perhaps.
A huge thorn in Ottawa’s side is that they do not own their first round pick this season, in which their first round pick is looking to be the first overall pick. Who may be Jack Hughes a projected top-3 forward in the making. Ether way if it is not first overall it will be a top-3 by the way things are looking and that will go to Colorado.
Bobby Ryan’s contract at 7.25 million a year for another three-years after this one definitely hurts. Ryan may be a good veteran for the team but clearly the direction the Senators are moving they seem to not care about experience in the locker room. A waste of 21+ million is never ideal in a rebuild situation.
The Senators may be losing Cody Ceci and as well know they have already lost Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene. Their three best players and the brightest spots on their roster. They have essentially an AHL team with 4-5 professionals and there roster does not look appealing to free-agents, rookies or fans for that matter.
Craig Anderson, sure the defense in front of him has not been great for the last two seasons but he is only getting older and worse it seems. And the Senators do not have anyone besides Andres Nilsson to really come in the goalie slot. Aside from the 20-year-old Filip Gustavsson, who is having a medicore year at best in the AHL and Marcus Hogberg, the Senators will need to trade for a goalie.
Senators management were in talks to receive a new facility in Ottawa downtown, that got put on hold and is now looks to be a slim chance they do receive one. The rink Ottawa plays at is 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa and 56 minutes by train. With the product they are putting on the ice, who would want to make that drive?
Positives: Young Defenseman & 2020 Draft
Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom, Colin White, Brady Tkachuk, Chris Tierney, Alex Formenton, Logan Brown, Jonathan Davidsson, Maxime Lajoie, Rudolf Balcers. These are players on the Senators current roster or AHL roster that are realistically the only bright spot for the team at the moment and moving forward. Chabot + Brannstrom on the back end is exciting. Lajoie develops into a potential top-four defenseman you have a legitimate d-core now. Tkachuk is already showing he can be and will be a top-three forward in the NHL. Colin White is seeing regular minutes and when healthy and playing consistently has been a huge positive for this team.
Ottawa supposedly has the 13th ranked farm system in NHL (Aug 2018) rated by theathletic.com. That was rated in August 2018 and they received Brannstrom and other prospects so the Senators could be a potential top-10 farm system in the NHL which is a plus.
Aside from seven draft picks in 2019 the Senators do have a truck load in the 2020 draft as they currently have 12 picks. Seven of those 12 picks come in the first three rounds. Two in the 1st, three in the 2nd and two in the third.
Off-season plan: New coach, Free-Agents, New facility
Based on how the lottery works and where the Senators sit they could possibly not even have a first round pick this draft. The Senators do indeed get either the 1, 2, 3 overall pick the 1st round pick they got from Columbus will be a 2020 first round pick. Therefore, what is the Senators off-season plans?
- Sign Colin White. Lock him up to a good contract and keep him in Ottawa. Sign Anthony Duclair too, you have nothing to lose. He is young, and will cost nothing but will provide a good outlet for younger players too.
- Trade Cody Ceci, he is a 25-year-old defenseman who has registered 20+ points three times in his career. He has value and his better off on the block they coming back on 5 million dollar deal.
- Go after low-risk free agents. Players like Gustav Nyquist, Cam Talbot, Andre Burakovsky, Michael Del Zotto, William Karlsson, Derek Brassard. Guys who you can bring for 2-3 years to help mentor and teach these young kids until they are ready for the NHL.
- Start working on a new a facility for the 2020 season. The Senators will have 12 ( thirteen potentially) draft picks and 7 (eight potentially) in the first three rounds. Make sure you have something for those draft picks and next crop of talent coming into the organization to look forward too.
- Get a young coach, take your time hiring a coach and find a coach like the New York Rangers did with David Quinn. Get a coach who is great with young players, possibly another top NCAA coach who can come in be a new face for the young players on your team.